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I'm building a dog kennel or crate for a customer. He chose a wooden structure and gave me a specific design.

My question if about how to join the stiles/corners of the kennel. I was thinking a rabbet and gluing the corner pieces together but when the customer saw it today he was clearly concerned about the size. A rabbet joint at each end would mean it's an inch smaller so I'm debating between biscuits or a spline joint.

The view in both pics is from the top. The mechanical pencil shows the dowel joint I used to attached the side rails. The yellow pencil is the joint in question. In the 2nd pic I roughly laid out for a spline.

I'm pretty sure the spline will be stronger, but does it need to be? And the biscuit, quicker - but will be be strong enough?

And of course there may be other solutions so throw them out there.

Both the bottom and top panels will be screwed into position and covered with flush plugs. The finish is painted.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year.
 

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a 1x¼'' oak spline w/ the grain perpendicular to the slot would work...
 
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My question for the customer: Does your dog have a habit of chewing things?
My son-in-law had a dog that chewed up a wire kennel and was gone for 10 days.
 

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Chewing

My question for the customer: Does your dog have a habit of chewing things?
My son-in-law had a dog that chewed up a wire kennel and was gone for 10 days.
I suggested that a wooden kennel might be problematic and urged they simply purchase a wire or plastic model - but he's intent on matching their existing kitchen look.
 

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For such a kennel, do you think glued butt joints might be acceptable? You might consider using Kraig Pocket screws with wooden caps to cover the inserted screws. I am sure the look would be quite nice and easy to finish as well. Just a thought! Hope it helps you decide. Looks great so far! Would love to see when you are done. Please take photos and share!
 

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Splines would be my choice. Pretty easy to make, very strong. I wonder if there is anything you could coat the exposed wood with that would discourage chewing. I vaguely recall that there was a coating for corrals that discourage horses chewing the fences. For dogs, there is something called "bitter apple," that tastes pretty bad. You have to keep it on exposed wood until the dog associates the nasty taste with chewing on wood. Have no idea if it has an odor, and there may be other products at a pet supply store. Interesting project.

I have a neighbor with a Doberman that is left outside on many days. Your project has me thinking about making a house that would keep her warm during winter. Nice dog, but I worry about her being out in the cold without a warm refuge. Maybe with a heating pad inside and some sort of doggie door to hold the heat in. She's a big dog, so Its going to cost a bit to do it.
 

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Question - why is there a strip of wood where you have dowels - looks like about an inch or so wide where in the first photo you have the black and yellow pencil. Why not remove that and put the dowels into the frame where you are considering putting biscuits or splines? Malcolm / Kentucky USA
 

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FWIW, you can get some spray liquid at a big pet store as Petco that you spray on the wood or plastic. We got Sour Apple flavor and sprayed our furniture as our one puppy chewed several things in the house when we got them three years ago. Caution: be prepared if you decide to taste it yourself. It's nasty! Also, mention to the customer that the dog have something in the kennel to chew on; flavored synthetic bones are good. That is what our "Chewer" now focuses on.
Looking forward to seeing the finished project.
Daninvan, that seems to be for one spoiled puppy! Is the pad heated for winter time? My son and wife spent three days making a doggy bed for his Lab. Hogan chewed it up in about 5 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Question - why is there a strip of wood where you have dowels - looks like about an inch or so wide where in the first photo you have the black and yellow pencil. Why not remove that and put the dowels into the frame where you are considering putting biscuits or splines? Malcolm / Kentucky USA
The customer found pics and some plans on the internet and asked me to build it with some specific modifications. Removing the stile (1.5") and doweling to the end panel would work but customer has seen the project and is concerned about the 'small' size, although he provided the size, so removing the stile will make the unit even smaller.

I guess I could replace the 1 x 2 with a 1 x 3 and get a larger box and dowel or rabbet the sections?
 

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@berry

I haven't seen any mention but, what is the intended purpose of the structure - is it for transport, is it a bed or for containment? How long is the unit going to be?
What breed of dog, how old? How long is this structure intended to last? Will the dog outgrow it quickly?
 

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John; that pic was from the 'net. No idea how far they went with it, but seems a bit overkill to me.
My old guy had a couple of those big stuffed dog beds; one in our bedroom and one in the family room. Seemed pretty happy with his accommodations.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
@berry

I haven't seen any mention but, what is the intended purpose of the structure - is it for transport, is it a bed or for containment? How long is the unit going to be?
What breed of dog, how old? How long is this structure intended to last? Will the dog outgrow it quickly?
The inside dimensions are 25 high, 33 long, 23 wide. The dog is a boxer and they supposed to get it Jan. 7th I think. I have no idea at what age breeders let their dogs go because I always get a rescue dogs. The unit is strictly containment in a large kitchen/family room setting. It's not supposed to be moved once it's in place. He wouldn't even consider a unit that could be taken apart.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Kennel Finished

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. I really appreciate them. I ended up using biscuits.

The project is complete and was picked up Saturday. I know I like to see the complete projects so I'm posting a couple pics.

The stock was poplar, big box 'bead board', and maple plywood. This is the first time I used a HVLP sprayer. Tinted shellac primer and acrylic paint. I thought it came out pretty good. I tried a couple of times to get pictures which would really show the surface, but failed.

Thanks for looking, comments welcome.
 

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Very nice...
 
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awesome...
 
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Very nice job you did on that, The paint came out great.

You will probably be building a larger one in less than a year,if he is a Boxer. They are active dogs, seems cruel to me to hole him up in that small box. Just an observation.

Herb
 
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